Inspired by the enthusiasm of Minnesota Farmers Union members, the Minnesota Cooks team has rolled out a new tool for Minnesota’s local foods community — and membership benefit for the grassroots organization.
Minnesota Foodshed is a new website for connecting farmers and wholesale buyers who are members of MFU. Farmers can find buyers for their locally grown goods, while buyers — restaurants, bakeries, distilleries, brewers and others — can increase local representation on their menus.
Minnesota Cooks is best known for an annual program at the state fair that highlights recipe demonstrations from restaurants and stories from the farmers they work with, and the annual calendar featuring these same recipes and farm-restaurant stories. This new venture gives the organization an even more active role in building those relationships.
Gary Wertish, MFU president, said farmers need fair prices to keep doing what they enjoy, and one way to do that is to buy directly from family farms.
“Since its beginnings in 2003, Minnesota Cooks has celebrated restaurants around the state who work closely with farmers through its state fair program and recipe calendar,” Wertish says. “I’m happy to share this new resource that can bring together even more mutually beneficial partnerships.”
Claudia Arndt, Minnesota Cooks program manager, said the idea for Minnesota Foodshed came from inquiries received throughout the years from both farmers and buyers seeking connections. The website will be a place where farmers and wholesale buyers can browse profiles and connect. The site also will serve as a place to submit real-time posts about products one is seeking to sell or buy in the short term.
To help familiarize Minnesotans with Foodshed, MFU is offering two virtual mini-tours, open to the public. The first is at noon today; the second is at 5 p.m. Wednesday. To attend, register at mnfoodshedtour.eventbrite.com.
To participate in Minnesota Foodshed, farmers and buyers can go to minnesotafoodshed.org to create profiles, and then they can reach out to others on the site and post on The Exchange. It’s free to create a profile; you just have to be a member of MFU to do so. The organization is offering free one-year promotional memberships to those new to MFU and who join through Foodshed, which automatically renew a year later. Those who are current MFU members will receive information via email on how to log in and create their profile as a membership benefit.
About Minnesota Cooks
Minnesota Cooks is the local foods education and outreach program of MFU. It is presented with support from Minnesota Grown, Farmers Union Agency, and Farmers Union Industries. For more information about Minnesota Cooks, visit the website, minnesotacooks.org; email [email protected]; or follow Minnesota Cooks on Facebook and @minnesotacooks on Instagram.